Only featured on their self titled debut
|Swedish riff-lords Grand Magus return at last with Iron Will, another full-on metal assault that journeys beyond the course of their last outing, 2005's Wolf's Return, to its inevitable, crushing destination. Drawing hefty influence from the hand-on-heart grandeur of the NWOBHM and the inspirational mythology of their forbears, Grand Magus are steeped in pre-Christian tales of triumph, vengeance, betrayal, romance and death.
The mandolin-led opening of 'Like The Oar Strikes The Water' does little to prepare the listener for the heads down double bass attack, which follows in its wake, heralding the arrival of new drummer Seb to the Grand Magus fold.
The departure of founding drummer Trisse has done little to slow the power trio's primordial thunder with Seb's furious tattoo setting a pace previously unseen in Grand Magus. Building their characteristic-rolling stomp into an all-out battle charge, this takes their epic sound to new levels of unshakeable might.
The pace continues to gather for the soaring epic Viking march of 'Fear Is The Key' before the atmospheric bass solo 'Hövding' brings us back down to earth for the triumphant title track 'Iron Will'; a paean to the power of the mind and a refusal to conform.
Through the straight-up heavy metal of 'Silver Into Steel', 'The Shadow Knows' and 'Beyond Good And Evil', the crushing doom of 'Self Deceiver' and the bombastic, nine-minute epic outro of 'I Am The North', bandleader JB has infused each second of sound with his unmistakable sense of purpose, unrelenting riff and his bittersweet, soul-wrenching howl. Shored up by the powerful four-string rhythm section and backing vocals of mainstay Fox, this anthem cements Grand Magus as a product of that dark, fertile place where doom, rock and heavy metal meet to become something pure.